Face to face labs bring hands on level to remote learning

Seniors+Kelsey+Wink+and+Jalen+Jackson+using+their+knowledge+of+melting+points+to+identify+an+unknown+solid+by+its+melting+point.

Griffin DeLadurantaye

Seniors Kelsey Wink and Jalen Jackson using their knowledge of melting points to identify an unknown solid by its melting point.

A small group of science students met face-to-face for labs on September 23, for the first since the closure of RHS in March.
“All my students were anxious to come in, they were happy to come in, they wanted to do lab work,” Chemistry teacher Jeffrey Weller said.
Weller’s students said they believed the meeting was beneficial to the class, making learning the subject easier. Most students have claimed that they find it easier to learn most subjects when doing classwork in person, as opposed to Zoom meetings.
“I definitely learn better in class than I ever would virtually, I just understand it better,” senior Gavin Benyi, an Organic Chemistry student, said.
Students are not the only ones who find face-to-face labs more convenient. Weller expressed that meeting for this lab made his work easier than it would have been if he had to conduct it remotely.
“In truth it does [make teaching easier] because this is a lab I would do live, so in terms of the use of time, I didn’t feel I had to prepare something weird and new remotely, and I didn’t have to record myself doing it. It felt like my normal teaching, which is easier than remote teaching,” Weller said.
Despite the positive reception that has come from the reintroduction of face-to-face labs, Weller has said that he does not plan on making them common occurrences for his classes.
“I will only do a lab in person if I feel like the lab really warrants the students coming in,” Weller said. “I don’t feel like I need to do it just to do it. I do it because the particular lab and what they can learn from it and what they experience from it is a real advantage by being in person versus virtual.”
Teachers and students alike are still cautious about coming into school for labs and meetings. Students that want to return to school understand that there are risks involved, and precautions like strict mask rules must be taken when meeting.
“As much as we practiced all the safe procedures,” Weller said, “the bottom line is when you put people together, you increase the risk of spreading the disease.”
While many students are eager to return to school, especially after taking part in these meetings, some still believe that we should not make these steps in the near future.
“If we continue doing things sparingly, like this, it’s fine, but everybody going back to school, definitely not,” senior Nicholas Kiss, another one of Weller’s students, said. “There’s way too many people in the school and definitely not enough space to put everyone.”
The Organic Chemistry students spent their first lab day working on determining the melting points of solids and identifying solids using their melting points.